Ep 70: Blazing a Transgender Trail with Corey Rae and her mother Judy Blank
I’m honored to bring you this Season Four finale episode of the Mother’s Quest Podcast with two special guests and dear family friends, transgender model, activist and writer Corey Rae and her talented and trailblazing mother, Judy Blank.
Corey is a 26-year-old activist, consultant, model, speaker and writer who shatters stigmas surrounding the transgender community. She was born transgender in the 1990’s and started her physical transition when she was 15 years old with the unwavering support of her mother Judy. Shortly after, Corey became the world’s first openly transgender girl to be crowned Prom Queen, a story in production for a feature film titled QUEEN, which Corey is Executive Producing.
As a stylist, designer and creator of hand-carved jewelry, with over 30 years of experience, Judy’s professional skills have taken her across the industries of television, music, and photography. Her intuitive detail-oriented approach to hairstyling and personal style consulting has supported hundreds of individuals to feel good about themselves and make meaningful lifestyle changes.
In this episode, Corey and Judy share, for the first time together, their mother daughter account of how they blazed a trail in Corey’s transgender journey, telling stories spanning from Judy’s standing up to Corey’s kindergarten teacher, who wanted to stop her from dressing as a girl during dress-up time, to supporting Corey through her gender affirmation surgery at age 19.
Corey also recounts her evolution from living “stealth” for five years after her surgery, when no one knew she was transgender, to coming out publicly in 2016 through her first blog post on her site CoreyRae.com, titled, “Allow Me to Reintroduce Myself.”
Since then, Corey has become a strong voice in helping others that struggle with gender identity, the transition process, or coming out and has actively shared her personal stories and advice on her blog, on a monthly column on StyleCaster.com, in publications like Vogue, Cosmopolitan and People magazines, and at events like the MAKERS Women’s Conference. She’s currently the new campaign model for the beauty subscription brand, IPSY, and had what I call an epic snapshot moment posing with her mother in front of one of her LA billboards, a photo we used for the podcast art.
This conversation had me in tears many times. I was moved by how Judy transformed her childhood experiences of being bullied into fuel for becoming a rock solid ally for her child, how her experience raising a transgender daughter when few resources and knowledge existed, sparked a deep desire to support other families and their children so they don’t have to feel alone, and how, after years of helping Corey become her authentic self, Judy is now experiencing her own rebirth after a challenging divorce.
Recording this conversation live in a recording studio on the eve of my 48th birthday and the birthday of the Mother’s Quest Podcast, felt like the representation of everything I hoped the podcast would be when I created it three years ago: a space for transformative, inspiring conversations that invite all of us to live more fully. I hope you’ll listen to this episode with an open heart and mind and say “yes” to Judy and Corey’s challenge to “truly listen to our children,” to embrace them, and help them grow into the fullest, most authentic expression of who they are.
P.S. This is the last episode of Season Four and I’ll be taking a break through the end of January. Come on over to the Mother’s Quest Facebook Group, if you’re not there yet, to stay connected until the podcast returns! Can’t wait to bring you more inspiring conversations in 2020.
This Episode is Dedicated by:
Kathie Moehlig of TransFamily Support Services
TransFamily Support Services SAVES lives by shaping a gender-affirming and accepting community. TransFamily Support Services provides navigation for the journey. We serve transgender youth and their families all over the country and there is never a fee for our services.
We help families to understand the gender journey and assist with referrals to medical and mental health providers. We also help navigate the insurance issues as well as work with schools to be sure the youth are safe and affirmed.
Kathie Moehlig, Founder of TransFamily Support Services, is a leading authority on supporting transgender and non-binary youth and their families. A tireless advocate for the LGBTQ community, she was named “Woman of the Year” by California Assemblyperson Gloria. A certified life coach, parenting instructor and motivational speaker, Kathie’s work have been featured in media nationally. She regularly crisscrossing the country to work with families, schools, healthcare, and organizations to promote understanding, inclusion, and equality.
TransFamily Support Services – Navigation for the Journey
If you want to support TransFamily Support Services, you can send your donations here.
Connect with Kathie:
You can learn more about Kathie and how she founded TransFamily Services here.
In This Episode We Talk About:
- Corey’s journey of self-identity during a time when there was much less awareness and few resources about being transgender
- Moments that helped Corey to realize she was transgender and that sparked her path to transition
- The impact of Judy’s own childhood experience grappling with learning disabilities and bullying in how that shaped how she parented
- The importance of listening to what your children are saying, not just in their words but also in their behavior
- Why you shouldn’t parent your kids from fear
- Deconstructing what it means to be transgender
- The importance for Corey of naming the ways in which she holds privilege as a white transgender woman
- Educating ourselves and others on how we can de-stigmatize the transgender community
- Corey’s coming of age movie – Queen
- Asking a lot of questions of our children and then waiting for the answer
- The ways in which Judy is experiencing her own rebirth: including several creative projects of her own, a memoir “Back to Blank,” and a signature jewelry piece for people in transition modeled after a butterfly.
Additional Resources for Transgender Families and Allies:
- Amber Leventry – Queer. Nonbinary. Writer. Advocate.
- Jamie Bruesehoff – Award-winning writer, Speaker, Advocate, and an openly Queer woman.
- Raising Luminaries: Books for Littles – LGBT
- Gender Spectrum, located in Oakland
- San Mateo Pride Center on El Camino in San Mateo
- The Gender Creative Child by Diane Ehrensaft, PhD
- Meet Marvel’s First Transgender Hero: 12-Year-Old ‘Mighty’ Rebekah
This Week’s Challenge:
For this week’s challenge, Judy and Corey challenge us to really listen to our children. Look at what they are really saying and don’t parent from a place of fear.
Ask your kids a lot of questions and wait for the answer. And if they don’t have the answer just let it sit, because you’re helping them think about it. Judy and Corey encourage everyone of us to love our kids for who they really are and allow them to be their authentic selves.
Learn More About Corey Rae:
Corey Rae is a 26-year-old activist, consultant, model, speaker, and writer who shatters social stigmas surrounding the transgender community. Corey was born transgender and started her physical transition when she was 15 years old with the help of her mother Judy. Shortly after, she became the World’s first openly transgender girl to be crowned Prom Queen.
In 2012, Corey had gender affirmation surgery at age 19, but kept her past a secret. After five years of living stealth, she told her story publicly in 2016 through her first blog post on her site CoreyRae.com, titled, “Allow Me to Reintroduce Myself”
Corey shares personal stories of her upbringing and experiences on her blog, as well as elevates the stories of other inspiring and unique LGBTQ+ members on her site. She writes a monthly advice column on StyleCaster.com with helpful tips on dating, fashion, beauty, and destigmatizing transgender beauty standards. Corey’s high school prom victory story has been acquired and is in production for a feature film titled QUEEN, which she is Executive Producing.
Corey speaks at public and private events such as LGBTQ+ marches, Universities, and even Lululemon Headquarters. She’s partnered with brands and companies such as IPSY, HBO, Lululemon, OUAI Haircare, Seventh Generation, MAKERS, It Gets Better, Orgain, Squarespace, Tumblr, LAPRIDE, and the Los Angeles LGBT Center.
When Corey isn’t focused on her activism career, you can find her hiking Runyon Canyon, hanging out with her closest friends, or shopping with her mom Judy.
Resources from Corey:
- Corey Rae & Sarah Kate Ellis | Public speaking at The 2019 MAKERS Conference
- Corey Rae’s Stylecaster Advice Column
- Personal website – Corey Rae
Follow Corey on Social Media:
Learn More About Judy Blank:
Judy Blank wants to live in a world where children grow up with kindness, compassion and the ability to grow into the fullest, most authentic expression of who they are.
Her own experience raising her transgender daughter Corey in the 1990’s, and blazing a path for Corey’s transition, during a time when few resources and knowledge existed, sparked a deep desire to support other families and their children so they don’t have to feel alone.
As a stylist and designer with over 30 years of experience, Judy’s professional skills have taken her across the industries of television, music, and photography. Her intuitive detail-oriented approach to hairstyling and personal style consulting has supported hundreds of individuals to feel good about themselves and make meaningful lifestyle changes.
In 2004, a class Judy took at the Art Center of New Jersey in wax-carving sparked an extension of Judy’s love for design that results in one-of-a-kind pieces that symbolize the change her clients seek. Using precious metals and gemstones, she creates her custom design jewelry using an intricate hand-carving technique known as Lost-wax casting.
Whether working with hair, jewelry, or styling, Judy maintains her focus on the most important element, you, and believes that when it comes to living true to your most authentic self, the details count.
This fall, Judy began a new transition in her life, moving back to her native home, Los Angeles, to grow her design and styling business and to assist Corey with her growing career. She’s also writing her own story in a book “Back to Blank,” about raising a transgender child in a time when people didn’t know what it was and chronicling how she overcame her disabilities and abusive relationships to reclaim her life.
Connect with Judy:
Mother’s Quest Turned Three!
Help us celebrate three years, 70 episodes and 40,000 downloads of the Mother’s Quest Podcast!! In honor of this milestone, I’ll be recording a special solocast with my reflections on the past three years and I’d love to include some messages from you. Head over to mothersquest.com/podcast to use the speakpipe tool, or your own recording app of choice, to send a message with your thoughts about Mother’s Quest, your favorite episode, or a way that our community has impacted you. I’m looking forward to sharing some of your voices, alongside mine, in this celebratory recording coming to you in the new year.
Women Podcasters in Solidarity Initiative
If you identify as a woman podcaster, I hope you’ll join us for the third season of the Women Podcasters in Solidarity Initiative. Our group recently committed to the topic of immigration from a social justice perspective, and we invite you to join us by committing to record an episode that can shine a light on this important issue. To take a look at past seasons and get more information visit www.womenpodcastersinsolidarity.com.
Want More Reflection in Your Life?
Book A Discovery Call
Some key themes that emerge from all my conversations, is the power of reflection and the power of being seen. These are elements that I bring, not only to every podcast interview, but to my one-one-one coaching and Mother’s Quest Circle facilitation. If you’re seeking more space for pause and reflection in your life, I encourage you to reach out to me for a discovery call to learn how we might work together. Visit mothersquest.as.me/discoverysession to schedule a time to talk.
Click here to book a discovery call
One Minute Mom Manifesto
⚡️Have you been feeling a nudge to say “yes” to create your Mother’s Quest Manifesto? The official challenge and giveaway may be over, but the invitation and content is always there for you to create your #oneminutemommanifesto
Here are some easy steps you can follow…
👉 Join the Mother’s Quest Facebook Group www.mothersquest.com/community to find the “unit” for the Manifesto Challenge’s reflective prompts and live videos. It’s all waiting for you!
👉 Follow along with the “unit” at your own pace. Share your reflections along the way in the comments. Let us cheer you on!
👉 Give yourself some quiet time to create your own #oneminutemommanifesto in whatever way feels good…writing, art, photos, song. It can be simple and quick. Don’t overthink it. What matters most, as a guiding light, for how you want to live your life at this stage of raising your children?
👉 Share your #oneminutemommanifesto on social media with the hashtag. Tag me if you can to make sure I’ve seen it. Consider nominating a friend who would benefit.
–Join us, share or tag a friend, or comment on how the #oneminutemommanifesto has helped you if you’ve already created yours.–
Would LOVE for more of you to join us in claiming, or reclaiming, HOW you want to live your life ✨🙌
A big THANK YOU to our “patrons” for helping to bring these conversations to myself and other mothers through financial and/or in-kind support:
Kathie Moehlig or TransFamily Support Services
Anne Ferguson of MamaFuel
On the Move and etsuko Kubo
“Vince” of the While Black Podcast
Julie Castro Abrams
Carrie Caulfield Arick
Sage B. Hobbs
Titilayo Tinubu Ali
Carly Magnus Hurt
Mara Berns Langer
Jen Jenkins Dohner
Caren and Debbie Lieberman
Fran and David Lieberman
Debbie and Alan Goore
The Sustainable Living Podcast
Support the Podcast
If you’d like to make a contribution to Mother’s Quest to support Season Four of the Podcast and/or help provide coaching scholarships for mothers, follow this link to make a contribution.
If you would like to “dedicate” an upcoming episode to a special mother in your life, email me at email@example.com
Mother’s Quest is a podcast for moms who are ready to live a truly E.P.I.C. life.
Join in for intimate conversations with a diverse group of inspiring mothers as they share how they are living an E.P.I.C. life, Engaging mindfully with their children (E), Passionately and Purposefully making a difference beyond their family (P), Investing in themselves (I), and Connecting to a strong support network (C).
Join our community of mothers to light the way and sustain you on your quest at https://www.facebook.com/groups/mothersquest/